Dewi Jones Unit - Inpatient mental health service

Dewi Jones Unit - Inpatient mental health service

The Dewi Jones Unit is an inpatient mental health facility, designed to help children and young people aged 5 to 13 who are going through a difficult time or struggling because of their way of thinking, their feelings, or with some difficult behaviour.

The unit is part of Alder Hey, but has its own building and grounds in Waterloo, near Crosby beach. Most of our children and young people start by having short, overnight visits with us, so we can get to know and understand each other before a longer stay.

Children and young people come to us for all sorts of different reasons. These might include:

  • Having complicated thoughts or feelings, making it hard to cope with everyday life
  • Social life not working out
  • Things like anger, upset or giddiness which can get in the way of friendships or relationships with family or other grown-ups
  • Finding it hard to eat and drink healthily or look after yourself safely

We provide a friendly, safe and non-judgmental environment to stay in, and we have lots of learning and play activities every day. Everyone who stays with us has their own room which they can make their own with posters, photos and belongings – lots of children have told us this really helps them feel more at home.

Contact us

We’re based in Waterloo, north Liverpool, just a few minutes from Crosby beach.

Dewi Jones Unit
Alder Park
Park Road
L22 3XE

You can call us on 0151 928 3888 or fax us on 0151 928 6282.

Information for families

Staying at the Dewi Jones Unit has helped many children and their families to understand their problems and work out ways to get better. We know that arranging a stay can be a difficult decision to make so we’ve put together some information to give you an idea about what to expect.

If you have further questions please get in touch – we’ll be happy to give you an answer.

Why would someone need to come to the Dewi Jones Unit?

Your family will have already worked with other mental health specialists to identify issues and one of those specialists will have referred you to us. It’s a positive step! Coming to the unit has helped many children and their families to understand their problems and work out ways to get better.

How long can a child expect to spend at the unit?

There’s no concrete answer, but a stay usually lasts from six weeks to several months depending on how much work we need to do. We understand that this could be a difficult commitment, but we strongly believe that it’s the best approach for dealing with problems and preparing children for challenges in the long term.

Every six weeks a review called a ‘CPA meeting’ happens. This is where parents, doctors, healthcare professionals teachers put together the best course of action, as well as working towards deciding your child’s discharge date.

What’s the unit like?

  • We have space for up to nine children to stay and everyone has a room of their own.
  • We have play, activity and learning rooms, therapy and relaxation spaces and meeting rooms, as well as our own kitchen, dining room and garden.
  • There’s plenty of space for everybody, but it’s not so big that you could get lost!

What should I pack for my child?

There’s a useful checklist below, but bear in mind you’ll need enough clothes for five days. You might also want to pack:

  • Swim wear
  • Some snacks for break times
  • Posters, cards, phtos etc to personalise your child’s room
  • A little pocket money (up to £5 per week)

Toiletries/bathroom items

Each bedroom on the Unit has its own private toilet and shower room. There is also an additional bathroom on the Unit which has a toilet and nice bath. We encourage children and teenagers to maintain their own hygiene wherever possible. We provide towels but children often like to have their own towel from home. We also like children and teenagers to bring in their own toiletries and toothbrushes.


Make sure you bring enough clothes with you for five days (with extras in case of emergencies). We often take children outside daily, so suitable clothing for running around is advisable. Other regular activities we do include going to the local park, the marina, swimming, outdoor sports (such as tennis) and gardening. Pyjamas, slippers and dressing gowns are a great idea for evenings.


We provide each child with a drawer in the nursing office for valuable items such as electronic tablets, mobile phones and chargers. For safety we keep all valuable items in these drawers when people aren’t using them (your care plan will make it clear about the times). If children bring in their pocket money, we keep that secure in our locked safe until it is needed.

Mobile phones

We are happy for children and teenagers to bring mobile phones with them but we are not able to allow internet-enabled devices onto the Unit so mobile phones will only be able to be used for phone-calls or texts. The Unit has a private phone in a quiet room that children and teenagers can use at various times during the day. This phone is there for all children to phone their parents and everyone needs to remember to share the time fairly.

Electronic devices

Children often bring in a personal stereo or radio with them to help them to relax in the evenings. Please bring in batteries if these are required for your device. We will also have to safety-test any device before it is used.

The Unit has several TVs, DVD players, Xbox 360s, Playstations, a Wii, and CD players in the communal areas. We have lots of games and DVDs on the Unit but please remember we have very strict rules on age appropriate games, DVDs and music.


Children are welcome to bring in any activity or hobby equipment (within reason) – just mention the hobby to the staff before you bring it in and we will see what we can do!


We have our very own chef and the food cooked on the Unit offers a delicious balanced diet. Please feel free to pack snacks for your child, which will be given out at afternoon break-times. Snacks are kept in the Unit dining room in your child’s own private drawer – not in their bedroom. Morning break will be fresh fruit and yogurt unless your child’s care plan says otherwise.


Please bring any medications your child is currently taking and give them to the nursing team.

Other items

Often children and teenagers bring in addresses and phone numbers of family and friends that they might like to write/speak to. Lots of children like to bring in their diaries to write in. Your child might also like to bring stamps, teddies, or anything that helps them sleep at night.

Yes, of course! We understand how scary it can be for children to change their routine. Families are welcome to visit between 6-8pm every evening. Staff will be around but they will generally give you some quality time together. Please note to protect privacy and confidentiality, we don’t allow visitors to use mobile phones on the unit.

What do we do about school?

We have our own classroom and two teachers. With your consent our teachers will work with your child’s school and keep them fully updated so your child can continue their education. Our school day is 09:15am – 12:00pm (with a break at 10:30am).

How are patients treated?

There’s no such thing as a ‘standard plan’ because we know that every single child is different. Talking, learning, play activities and time spent with our nursing team helps us to get to know each child. This helps us to understand and respect individual strengths and talents, as well as struggles.

The team put a lot of consideration into care plans, which are tailored to each child. This takes place in case management meetings (with parents / carers), in core teams (nursing staff on the unit) and in multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) (the wider team involved in your child’s care).

We’ll will always discuss a care plan with you and your child and take your opinions into account. A care plan will identify what works best to help when a child is struggling. They also help our staff to look out for certain things which they can use to help your child.

Sometimes, we think medication may help too but we’ll always discuss this with you first.

This is completely normal, and we’ll never tell children off for feeling these things because we’re glad that they’re sharing them with us. We will always respect your child and we will do everything we can to keep them safe. We only expect that children express their feelings in an appropriate way, so we don’t tolerate unkind or threatening behaviour, or damaging of property.

When we get to know your child we’ll be able to look for any ‘early warning signs’ that help us to understand that things might be getting too much, and we’ll always try to help. We constantly review our risk management strategies on an individual basis so we can keep our children safe.

If a child does or says something they shouldn’t, we’ll expect them to apologise and make amends but then as far as we’re concerned that’s the end of the matter. Our staff are all trained to deal with all kinds of behaviour and we will always try to liaise with families before (this might be an outpatient or pre-admission meeting) and during a stay on the unit.

What’s the food like?

We think it’s the best food at Alder Hey! We have a dedicated chef who freshly prepares different options for lunch and tea. At breakfast and supper time, there’s toast and cereal too. We encourage the children to let the chef know if there is anything at all they would like to change.

How do you help children with sleep problems?

Our night staff are always on hand to help, but usually we’re so busy during the day that children don’t struggle to get to sleep. We are happy to let children read or watch a DVD in bed if that is what helps them to sleep. We try to keep your child’s routine at the unit the same as it would be at home (within reason).

Do children have internet access?

There’s internet access in the school room, to help during lessons but other than that there’s no internet access available during a stay. Access to the internet is very closely monitored by staff.

What happens when my child leaves the Dewi Jones Unit?

Different circumstances apply to each child, but generally we pass on our thoughts and recommendations to the health specialist who referred your child to us (this might be tier 3 CAMHS for example) and they’ll take over your child’s medical care. We will also work very closely with your child’s school and help in any necessary transition period to make the journey as smooth as possible.

What is a day at Dewi Jones like?

There’s lots of variety every day at Dewi Jones, with opportunities to learn, play and relax. We keep a regular routine to give all our visitors the chance to adapt to their surroundings, and there’s plenty to do all day!

Each weekday morning our teachers run school from 9.15am to 12pm and after lunch there are two afternoon group sessions, which can be anything from playing sport to talking about feelings.

Getting up

  • Staff will wake you at 8am and you will need to wash, dress and tidy your bedroom before coming to the lounge area
  • If you are awake before 8am you will need to stay in your room until 7.30am. It is okay to play in your room whilst you are waiting


  • At 8:30am we all go down for breakfast
  • You will all have breakfast in the dining room
  • After breakfast we can watch TV in the “meeting place” or have a game of cards while we wait for school

School time

  • At 9:15am school starts in the unit classroom
  • At 10:30am you have a 20 minute break for a healthy snack
  • At 10:50am you go back to school until 12:00pm

Lunch and afternoon groups

  • At 12:00pm it is time for lunch in the dining room cooked by our very own chef. Once everyone is finished you can go upstairs for free time
  • At 1:00pm group time starts (each day there are different groups)
  • Each afternoon we also have a break
  • We have afternoon break in the dining room but this time you can choose something from your snack box
  • Between 4:00pm and 4:30pm you will have a community meeting with the other children and staff to think about how things are going
  • At 4:30pm when groups have finished you will have some more free time

Tea time

  • At 5:00pm it’s time for everyone to have tea in the dining room
  • Once everyone is finished you can go upstairs for free time

Visiting time

  • At 6:00pm it is visiting time
  • When you have visitors you can spend time in your room but we also like you to spend time in the lounge with staff too
  • Sometimes during visiting, staff may need to speak to your visitors, we will try not to keep them too long
  • If your visitors would like to take you off the unit for a walk or to the shop, this is ok but you need to let staff know where you are going
  • If you don’t have visitors it’s ok, you can spend time with staff doing free time activities
  • You should not play on games consoles e.g. Wii, DS, Xbox or Playstation while you have visitors
  • You can also phone your family if they are not visiting
  • Visiting finishes at 8:00pm so this is when your visitors need to go home

Evening activities

  • At 8:00pm its time for supper and starting to settle down for the evening
  • Sometimes we have a treat and have a film night
  • You can have supper in the lounge, you can choose from cereal, toast, juice, milk or hot chocolate
  • Fizzy drinks, sweet things and crisps are NOT allowed for supper
  • After supper you can go to your room or spend time in the lounge doing relaxing activities e.g. watch TV, play cards
  • You cannot play on games console after 8:00pm


  • Your bedtime on the unit depends on how old you are
  • Once in your room you will need to put on your pyjamas and have a wash – don’t forget to brush your teeth

Information for professionals: Referrals

The Dewi Jones Unit is a Tier 4 CAMHS mental health assessment and treatment facility for young people aged 5 – 14, and accepts referrals from Tier 3 CAMHS professionals. We’re one of seven inpatient units in England, and one of just two in the North.

As part of the Alder Hey NHS Foundation Trust, we are also equipped to care for children with significant medical problems and we work closely with the Regional Child Development Centre and Regional Child Neurology Service, both based at Alder Hey.

Patients we see

We have nine beds and accept referrals for young people aged 5 – 13. We have a National footprint and for older children there are circumstances in which we will discuss referrals on an individual basis.

The most frequent diagnoses we see include:

  • Psychosis
  • Eating disorders
  • Affective disorders
  • Developmental disorders including Autism, ADHD, Tic disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive disorders
  • Psychosomatic disorders
  • Anxiety and emotional disorders
  • Self harm, attachment and regulation disorders

Dewi Jones Unit referral process

Referrals should be made in writing by the Tier 3 CAMHS service (via SPA), or by both CAMHS and Paediatricians in jointly managed cases. We welcome timely referrals before difficulties become entrenched, as well as emergency referrals, which will elicit a response within one working day.

A response to a referral request will be issued within a week of receipt and for those we accept, we begin care planning. This allows us to meet referring clinicians, the child and their family and a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan. Care planning takes around four weeks, and helps to ensure a minimum inpatient stay as well as maximising the amount of outreach work at the family home.

We invite telephone enquiries and we are happy to meet for informal discussion prior to a referral being made.

Make a referral

All referral requests must be made in writing.

For referral queries please call 0151 928 3888 and for contracts or pricing call 0151 252 5698 / 5812.

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Alder Hey Children's Charity
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